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Conflict. “Conflict is an expressed struggle between at least two interdependent parties who perceive incompatible goals , scarce rewards , and interference from the other party in achieving their goals.”. Integration (acknowledgment/ respect) Respect/Choice De-escalation Focusing

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slide2

“Conflict is an expressed struggle between at least two interdependent parties who perceive incompatible goals, scarce rewards, and interference from the other party in achieving their goals.”

conflicts can be functional or dysfunctional
Integration (acknowledgment/ respect)

Respect/Choice

De-escalation

Focusing

Positive results

Polarization

Coercion

Escalation

Drifting (kitchen-sinking)

Negative results

Conflicts can be Functional or Dysfunctional
individual conflict styles
Individual Conflict Styles

(Wilmot & Hocker, 1998)

slide5

High aggression/ energy

Competition

Collaboration

Compromise

Concern for Self

Low aggression/ energy

Avoidance

Accommodation

Low cooperation

High cooperation

Concern for Other

avoidance
Avoidance
  • Advantages
    • Allows time to think
    • Useful if issue is trivial
    • Helps you not to get too involved in the conflict
    • Keeps others from influencing you as much
  • Disadvantages
    • May demonstrate that you don’t care
    • Gives impression that you’re not flexible
    • Lets conflicts simmer/heat up rather than working through them
    • Denies mutual influence
  • Techniques
    • Denials of conflict, evasive remarks, changing the subject, abstract remarks, noncommittal statements/questions, friendly joking
competition
Competition
  • Advantages
    • Useful when you need to make a quick, decisive action
    • Can encourage creativity
    • Useful when the goal is more important than the relationship
    • Demonstrates how important the issue is to you
  • Disadvantages
    • Can harm the relationship
    • May encourage others to be passive-aggressive, or use other covert means
    • Limits conflicts to win-lose
    • Taken to an extreme, can be physically harmful
  • Techniques
    • Denial of responsibility, personal criticism, rejection, hostile imperatives, hostile jokes, hostile questions, presumptive remarks, threats, violence
compromising
Compromising
  • Advantages
    • Can accomplish important goals in relatively short time
    • Reinforces power balance in relationship
    • Can be used as a back-up method when other styles fail
    • Appears reasonable to most parties
  • Disadvantages
    • Can become an easy way out, when other solutions might work better
    • May be seen as lose-lose
    • May be a sophisticated form of avoidance
  • Techniques
    • Appealing to fairness, suggesting a trade-off, maximizing wins/minimizing losses, offering a quick short-term solution
accommodating
Accommodating
  • Advantages
    • Useful when you find out you’ve been wrong
    • You can give a little and gain a lot if the issue’s not important to you
    • Allows harmony of relationship, without overt conflict
  • Disadvantages
    • May reduce finding creative options
    • Can be harmful to the relationship if one person always gives in, and the other always gets their way
    • If the accommodation is resented, conflict will likely just arise again later
  • Techniques
    • Giving up/giving in, disengagement, denial of needs, expression of desire for harmony
collaboration
Collaboration
  • Advantages
    • Generates new ideas
    • Shows respect for the other party
    • Gains commitment to the solution from both parties
    • Affirms importance of relationship
    • Builds team approach to conflict management
    • Demonstrates that conflict can be productive
  • Disadvantages
    • May not be worth the time and energy involved
    • Can be manipulative, or used as a one-up move
  • Techniques
    • Descriptive statements, disclosing statements, qualifying statements, solicitation of disclosure, solicitation of criticism, supportive remarks, concessions, acceptance of responsibility
relational conflict styles patterns of managing disagreements that repeat themselves over time
Relational Conflict Styles“Patterns of managing disagreements that repeat themselves over time.”
  • Complementary Conflict Style
    • Partners use different but mutually reinforcing behaviors
  • Symmetrical Conflict Style
    • Partners use the same tactics
  • Parallel Conflict Style
    • Shifts between complementary and symmetrical styles depending on the issue
  • Can also look at styles based on level of intimacy and aggressiveness

(also Conflict-Avoidant, Validating, and Volatile)

  • Conflict rituals
conflict management
Conflict Management

(Wilmot & Hocker, 1998)

slide13
Clarify Communication
    • Speak your mind and heart
    • Listen well
    • Express strong feelings appropriately
    • Remain rational as long as possible
    • Summarize and ask questions
    • Give and take
    • Avoid all harmful statements
  • Check Perceptions
    • Ask directly what is going on
    • Tell others your own reality
    • Look for flexible “shades-of-gray” solutions
transforming conflicts
Transforming Conflicts

(Wilmot & Hocker, 1998)

what are your options for trying to change a conflict
What are your options for trying to change a conflict?
  • Try to change the other person
  • Try to alter the conflict conditions
  • Change your own communication

and/or perceptions

slide16

Midrange conflicts tend to be most productive…

Potential for Productiveness

Unexpressed Conflict

Regulated Conflict

Unrestrained Conflict

our difficulties with conflict can often be boiled down to problems with
Our difficulties with conflict can often be boiled down to problems with:
  • Avoidance (Unexpressed Conflict)

&

  • Escalation (Unrestrained Conflict)
avoidance18
Avoidance
  • 2 types:
    • Avoidance -> Avoidance -> Avoidance etc.
    • Avoidance-> Escalation -> Avoidance etc.
  • Why do we tend to avoid?
    • You feel the other person wouldn’t like it or is so fragile they’d fall apart if you brought up the issue
    • You feel you don’t have the right to bring up the issue
    • You feel you lack the skills to deal with the conflict
breaking the avoidance cycle
Breaking the Avoidance Cycle
  • Remember that the other person needs your help to correct whatever misperceptions have formed
  • Remember that not sharing important information doesn’t do either of you any good
  • Try to reframe your concerns about bringing up the issue, or come up with counterarguments for them.
  • If you find yourself complaining to others behind the person’s back, recognize it as indirect anger, and a clue you need to engage that person. Ask yourself, “What is it that I need to tell him/her?”
moving from complaints to requests
You are too cold.

You’re smothering me.

I need more warmth.

I need you to look at me when you talk.

I would like it if you’d answer my questions.

I would like to have some more time to do my own thing.

I need some time to myself.

Moving from Complaints to Requests
escalation
Escalation
  • Anger is a secondary emotion, resulting from:
    • Fear
    • Hurt
    • Frustration of unmet needs/thwarted desires
  • People tend to deal with anger through:
    • Suppression
    • Ventilation/Catharsis
tips for expressing anger
Tips for Expressing Anger:
  • Verbally state the anger. (“I am angry.”)
  • Distinguish between venting and acknowledging anger.
  • Agree that you won’t attack each other in a state of anger.
  • Work to find the stimulus of the anger.

You can use the X-Y-Z formula

receiving anger well
Receiving Anger Well
  • Acknowledge the person’s feelings.
  • Clarify the specific behaviors involved.
  • Gauge the intensity and importance of the issue.
  • Invite the person to join you in working towards solutions.
  • Make an optimistic relational statement.
some general guidelines for transforming your conflicts
Some general guidelines for transforming your conflicts…
  • Express caring/concern for the other person and their feelings
  • Don’t bargain over positions
  • Separate the people from the problem
  • Focus on interests, not positions
  • Invent options for mutual gain (What can each of you offer?)
  • Insist on using objective criteria